Border crossing, Porto Alegre-Montevideo

To get from Porto Alegre to Montevideo, you have two choices of bus companies: TTL (Brazilian) and EGA (Uruguayan). I chose TTL as I was getting jitters about having to speak Spanish! The night bus ride is around 12 hours long. I went to the terminal in the morning to make sure I get a seat for the bus. The bus also makes stops at Chuy (border, apparently really interesting since the border is actually a street in the middle of the city, and on the north side all the signs are in Portuguese and on the south side are in Spanish. Would have loved to see it.) and Punta del Este (famous Uruguayan beach town renowned for its casinos, beaches, and parties in the summer, frequented by Argentinians and Brazilians.
Though people always complement me for my aptitude in Portuguese, sometimes I still have no idea what people say to me. So, when I checked in at the Porto Alegre bus station at the TTL ticket booth, to board my bus to Montevideo, what exactly the lady said to me as she put my passport in a pile of other passengers’ documents was lost to me. All I knew is that she said we are getting our documents back on the bus and something about “30 minutes”. By the way, Americans don’t need a visa to enter Uruguay. After 30 minutes on the bus and still no passport back, I was slightly anxious about where my passport is but resolved that even if it’s still at the station, it’s too late to do anything about it. Soon I drifted into sleep.
Going from a 12 hour overnight bus from Porto Alegre, we made a border crossing at Chuy at 3am. It is the most anticlimactic border crossing I ever made. I was woke up slightly to see that we are at Uruguayan customs. Damn it, I missed the photo opp of the Welcome to Uruguay sign! I saw the luggage compartment open and close. A couple minutes later, we were on our merry way again. Um, how do I know if I’m me on the bus? I slept on.
When we arrived at Punta del Este stop, my passport was returned to me, with a nice exit Brazil stamp and entry Uruguay stamp. This is the easiest border crossing I ever made, I didn’t even have to show my face….
Anyhow, hello Uruguay!

17 Comment

  1. I’m a french guy in Porto Alegre right now and next week i’m gonna do the same thing as you, taking the TTL bus to Montevideo.
    The thing is I overstayed my tourist visa in Brazil, do you have any idea how it’s gonna work?
    It seems confusing that you don’t go through the brazilian customs on the way out.

  2. Well, they do stamp your passport on your way out. They collected all our passports when we boarded and stamped them at the border, so that they didnt have to wake us up in the middle of the night. I dont know how strict they will be at this border, but I know that if you overstay your visa, you get charged a trivial fine of like 8 reais per day (dont quote me on this, but I remember it being pretty low). Or if you want to be safe I think you can go to the police station and apply for a visa extension. I found this link with some quick googling. http://www.expat-blog.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=251580
    Good luck!

  3. Did you buy the bus ticket from the bus station? As far as I understand it is impossible to buy them online. I am planning to take a bus from Montevideo to Porto Alegre but I worry that there will be no tickets left. Is this possible you think?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. I bought them at the bus station. I wouldnt think the tivkets would be sold out unless theres some special holiday going on; the bus was pretty spacious when i took it i think – you can go to the bus station to buy the ticket a couple days in advance to be safe 🙂

      1. I will stay in Montevideo only in the 2th of July, which doesn’t seem to be a special day. Hope buying only a few hours before will still be enough. 🙂

        1. I think it will be fine 🙂

          1. Ok. I will bring all my stuff with me :)) One more thing. Do you remember which bus station did you arrive at in Montevideo?

          2. The main one! I just looked it up i think it is Tres Cruces. All the long distance buses leave from there!

          3. Thanks a lot !! 🙂

        2. Bring your passport when you buy the ticket, i think i had to show it

  4. When you say the bus makes a stop at Punta del Este, does it mean you can alight there?

      1. But you’d need to get a new ticket from Punta del Este to Montevideo and not use the same ticket, yes?

        1. yeah these would be two separate tickets!

  5. Hi Tendelle

    I’ll be travelling on the overnight TTL bus between Porto Alegre and Montevideo in October with my partner. Can you remember if your bus seat could fully recline back to a sleeper seat or not? This will be my first experience with an overnight bus and I don’t really don’t want to sleep uncomfortably overnight. The TTL website doesn’t go into detail about the seat’s capability. We’ve also looked at flights between Florianopolis and Montevideo via Sao Paulo but they are ridiculously expensive at around $900AUD one-way.

    I hope you can help.

    James

    1. Hi James,
      It’s been a long long time for me, but if I remember correctly, no it doesn’t recline fully. It’s really not a fancy bus but it gets you from point A to point B.

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